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The Next Gen consoles


Major Britten
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I can't see any way for it to support multiple profiles, so if you and your wife are both using it (which seems quite logical in a living room) your saves and cheevos are going to get mixed up.

Steam Profiles. When you hit the power icon in big picture mode, you get something like 'close big picture mode, close steam, log on as a different user' and then a separating line, and then 'reboot, shut down, sleep'. Obviously you can't buy one game and play it on two profiles, it would be like XBLA games in that regard.
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and the valve made steambox will be linux but allow you to install windows.
So, just to be totally clear, you are suggesting that in order to make 99% of Steam games work, the user will need to buy the box, then buy a Windows licence for £100+, then format the box, install Windows, install drivers, install Steam, and then play the games? And this is the device that will drive Steam into the console-buying mainstream? You think that's a thing that'll actually happen?
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I think the general consensus is that we won't know until we see things up and running.

Well yes but I was attempting to get at least a bit more back on topic and away from is / isn't clippa becoming more repetitive than risingcostofgames™

;)

..but on the current rumours and leaks, then yes. PS4 is looking like it'll pack more punch.

Thank you. Although I don't think my plan worked.

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Let me elaborate on my point earlier.

On Xbox (say, but I believe it's very similar for Wii and PSN) if I buy a physical disc then there is no licence to worry about. Me and my wife can both freely play under our profiles, because only one of us has the disc at once.

Digital content (DLC, XBLAH, whatever) is dual-licenced: for my profile signed into any Xbox, and for any profile signed into the Xbox I bought it on. So my wife and I can both play my purchases on the Xbox downstairs, but she can't play digital content bought with my account on the Xbox in my testosteroom. In practice, she doesn't use the upstairs Xbox, so all my purchases can be used by both of us. Happy days.

Whereas on Steam, content is only licenced for one person. If my wife and I want to both play Sleeping Dogs, I need to buy a second copy of the game. The Steam T&Cs even specifically forbid me from letting my wife so much as load the game, with lots of stern talk about account sharing.

I can't see any way to spin that other that "Steam sucks at this".

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Whoops, I was wrong about that then. Fortuitous though, I've just discovered the license tool which will allow my Missus to play stuff purchased on the old Xbox. Maybe it's just my way of thinking as I've used Steam since there was only one game on it, but I don't really see the problem with locking games to accounts. I suppose sharing across them is a way of thinking that stems back to software as a product versus software as a service.

At a guess the reason Steam doesn't do this at the moment is obvious (besides gabemoneypit.gif, of course). Firstly, if Steam worked in a way where it simply noticed an existing Sleeping Dogs installation on a PC and unlocked it for every user from then on, people would either pirate the initial install and run their yarred games through Steam for achievements, or share accounts between potentially hundreds of users, each chipping in a few pence for the latest release and waiting their turn in the queue to sign in, download it and switch back to their own account. Valve can't or don't lock software to the device, presumably as they don't own the device or track WMI/BIOS data for each. Perhaps it would be possible to take the Microsoft approach of locking to purchaser and machine, I don't know how they would implement this given all the different device types which connect to Steam and the data collection involved.

Secondly, they'd get shafted in internet cafes in Asia and the like, which must be a big earner for them. Why take out their expensive internet café licensing agreements when you can just buy one copy of whatever and it'll work on every profile on that PC forevermore? Although with something like DOTA2 where the game is free and the IAPs aren't, that's not much of an issue. Their café licenses are per device rather than per-user, I think, but I don't know how they police it or how they track the devices.

I wonder if they've thought about this in the run-up to the official Steambox, allowing games to be played by a second profile on a Valve-branded machine? I'm betting it's come up. It's an interesting question. They seem to be making strides towards adding requested features (like profile switching and power options, mentioned earlier).

It's certainly not a situation unique to Steam, it's the same with Origin, Uplay, Battle.net and any other DRM-disguised-as-a-platform services you can think of, so it's not really fair to accuse Steam of "sucking" at it, yet. Do those companies also suck because my hypothetical 5 student housemates can't sign onto my PC, create a new Uplay/Blizzard/Origin etc account of their own and play all my games for free? Genuine question rather than point.

Personally I think we're a very short distance from most games on every format having online authentication if not always-on DRM, as more games become hosted on the server/go free to play/move towards saas, so whilst Valve'll happily allow multiple profiles per unit, they might not bother with allowing the sharing of purchases across them. I'd be surprised if MS and Sony don't go some way to patching up those 'features' next gen, or if publishers don't start rolling out CD keys with their console games which attach to Uplay/Origin accounts and render the game disc useless to any other account once registered, which is what happens when you buy a Steamworks/Uplay/Origin/Blizzard game in a box now.

Not to mention the Sony anti-used-games thing, what came of that? Sorry for weird formatting in this post, IE10 bug with the return key. :)

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Your points are all entirely valid, Morrius -- particularly on how Steam couldn't lock puirchases to a single machine, because there's no whole-machine DRM key to hook into. (Unless the Win8 secure boot stuff can do that, maybe). But the harsh realities are that this isn't going to matter one bit to someone choosing between a SteamBox and Durango; that person is simply going to see Steam as double-dipping him or her for games, and be irritated by it. That's a reason not to pick the SteamBox.

Now maybe not that many people share consoles, so it won't bother many people. Or maybe the SteamBox won't be designed to be the full-throated assault on the mainstream many people want it to be, and so it won't matter.

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To address some of Morrius's specific points:

allowing games to be played by a second profile on a Valve-branded machine? I'm betting it's come up. It's an interesting question. They seem to be making strides towards adding requested features (like profile switching and power options, mentioned earlier).
My gut feel is that this would probably violate the licences that Valve has with publishers, and hence require a prohibitive amount of renegotiation. It seems likely to me that the "no account sharing" thing must be baked into contracts further up the food chain. Perhaps not, though. But anyway: games store their config and their settings in tons of different places, so Valve couldn't hope to do this in a retrospective way. It could introduce an API and ask games to conform to it, but if the back catalog doesn't work then most of Steam's USP over consoles is lost.
It's certainly not a situation unique to Steam, it's the same with Origin, Uplay, Battle.net and any other DRM-disguised-as-a-platform services you can think of, so it's not really fair to accuse Steam of "sucking" at it, yet. Do those companies also suck because my hypothetical 5 student housemates can't sign onto my PC, create a new Uplay/Blizzard/Origin etc account of their own and play all my games for free? Genuine question rather than point.
It means they have all have a (I believe) significant drawback when compared to consoles. The debate only becomes interesting when one of those distro systems tries to move beyond the PC Master Race and into the console mainstream, which only Steam is (allegedly) planning to do.
Not to mention the Sony anti-used-games thing, what came of that?

Companies patent all sorts of wild stuff. I don't think we should draw any conclusions from this unless it appears somewhere. If it does, then I agree with you, but I think it's unlikely.
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It'd be easy enough to fudge if they tracked info from the bios or even WMI, they must do something like that for the café licensing. The Steambox isn't going to be a fourth console. People that think it is are looking at wrong. Steam is the platform, the Steambox is just another way to plug into it. They might only sell three of them to Linus Torvalds, it doesn't make them a failure unless they bet the farm on it selling by the millions and end up with warehouses full of them, Udraw style. It's only the irresponsible "Valve enters console market" headlines and weird crowing of "RIP consoles" which have given root to this idea, all Valve are doing is trying to overcome problems the PC has in the living room. They already have a successful ecosystem (I know you know this, I'm talking to hypothetical people who don't!) which they're trying to grow. It's not about the box, it's about the platform. BYOD in other words, with them providing a device as one of the many options. This'll mean that their own branded Steambox will never sell in Xbox numbers, it'll also mean that Steam as a platform could potentially end up with far more users and devices than MS or Sony could ever hope to reach. :)

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It means they have all have a (I believe) significant drawback when compared to consoles. The debate only becomes interesting when one of those distro systems tries to move beyond the PC Master Race and into the console mainstream, which only Steam is (allegedly) planning to do.

It's a disadvantage to the user, assuming they want to share games across profiles. It's not a disadvantage to the manufacturer, who would love to sell you two copies of a digital download per household instead of one. You can bet that MS and Sony are eyeing up the situation on PC with envy, weighing up the ire of those disgruntled users versus the extra profit made from selling them two copies of everything :lol: We'll have to wait and see. I've enjoyed chatting to you about it - cheers!
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Valve shouldn't need a living room box to do that really though, with Intel slowly but surely raising the embarrassingly low floor for GPU performance and with the sheer number of PCs sold globally already every single year, the potential reach already eclipses even the iOS or Android market, convincing those existing PC owners they need to play games on the PC and via STEAM in particular seems more the problem, which this hardware initiative might help solve.

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Well, we know Gabe likes that Intel stuff, he was shilling for them a while back wearing that goofy HL3 joke hat at GDC2012. It's not really ready to run much high-end stuff, but it's a good solution for a cheap box and keeps improving year on year.

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The Steambox isn't going to be a fourth console. People that think it is are looking at wrong.
On this, we are the same. WE ARE BROTHERS, MACLEOD.
They already have a successful ecosystem... which they're trying to grow. It's not about the box, it's about the platform.
Indeed! However, for a SteamBox to grow the ecosystem, it must (by defintion) have some appeal to people that existing PCs can't offer. An out-of-box process that involves installing Windows certainly won't do it, nor will "you can just plug it in and it goes" because that's largely true of gaming PCs too. Is a smaller form factor alone enough to drive that? It'll help, but is it enough? Dunno.

I suspect Valve has something up its sleeve, it's a lot smarter than me. Buggered if I can see what though.

There's also a real risk that the press has whipped everyone up into a "FOURTH CONSOLE OMG" frenzy and now anything Valve actually ships will feel like a let-down. Valve hasn't helped, here, by being so mysterious.

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Agreed on every point. I also think the Steambox will do or be something none of us quite expect, that they have something up their sleeve. I don't overestimate the importance of Half Life 3 to Mr J Bloggs, but I do wonder if we'll see a move towards 'Steam exclusives', with HL3 being the flagbearer. 'PC Exclusive' would give way to 'Origin exclusive', 'Uplay exclusive', 'Steam exclusive' etc. One thing is for sure, next-gen is going to be fucking weird.

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Steam box to me is a not shit looking and quiey under the telly PC that has boots into big telly steam by default and I can buy doofers to plug into it to make it faster.

Fuckin' Master Race, ruining every thread!

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Ok by the old '8-bit NES, 16-bit SNES' notation, how many bits are these machines? Is it in any way relevant anymore? I want an easy way to compare their 'power' dammit! I remember the atari Jaguar kinda spoiling the correlation between bits and power, until the N64 revived it.

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Ok by the old '8-bit NES, 16-bit SNES' notation, how many bits are these machines? Is it in any way relevant anymore? I remember the atari Jaguar kinda spoiling the correlation between bits and power, until the N64 revived it.

The PC Engine was doing this in the 80s courtesy of a 16bit graphics chip but a 8bit cpu.

But no, it's not relevant these days. The importance of the 'term' was pretty dead by the time the DC was released and it never lasted past the ps2/xbox/GC.

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